Nursing A Profession or Not Essay

IntroductionWhen the word profession is mentioned, what exactly comes to mind? In most cases people will think of a variety of definitions, with the most common being a vocation, occupation or a certain high status career.

For any layman, a professional is basically an individual who displays and applies specialized knowledge in a subject, or a particular field. A more detailed accepted definition of a profession is that it not only involves the display of specialized knowledge, but is also autonomous in its regulation, through the establishment of professional bodies which oversee the setting of the examinations, establishment of a code of ethics, as well as carries out all the licensure activities.This therefore leads us to the next big question, does nursing qualify to be referred to as a profession? This is a question to which I am naturally predisposed to respond to with a big YES, as personally I do normally feel quite wounded that anyone would deem it necessary to even ask such a question. This has thus led me to attempt and take a closer look as to whether nursing actually does meet the requirements of a profession, based on R. Pavalko’s  eight dimensions, in Sociology of occupations and professions. These eight dimensions are:i)                    A profession has relevance to social valueIf one thinks about this characteristic, naturally one is tempted to think about the rich historical aspect of nursing as well as its roots in providing proper service to others and true altruism, stemming right from the very days of the lady with the lamp, Florence Nightingale herself, as during those days the very reward for such true service did not really lie in monetary rewards but in self satisfaction and the gratitude generated by such acts of kindness. Up to this day therefore the registered nurses are concerned only with ensuring that they focus on the total patient, concentrating on his or her wellness and health promotion while also not forgetting about the actual disease process. In thi9s line of thought one is therefore tempted to think about the how the registered nurse engages in acts of health promotion, education of the patient, his or her family, the community and the impact all this ultimately has on social values, and what better way to capture all this, than through the employment of Gordon’s 11 functional health patterns.

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ii)                  A profession has a training or educational periodThis is a bit obvious as yes indeed nurses do have a specific training period, though I would prefer if this period would be referred to as an educational period, as gone are the days when the profession involved the training of unregistered nurses and nurse aids, currently most people graduating in the field are registered professional nurses, with ranging levels of training, such as Diploma, which usually takes about three to three and a half years, depending on the country of education, this period is even longer for the BSN nurse, lasting about four years in most countries. In short therefore, currently the registered nurse is classified into, the diploma, the associated and the baccalaureate prepared nurse. It is time therefore that this diversity had an effect on how others view of nursing as a profession.iii)                Elements of self- motivation address the way in which the profession serves the client, family and the larger social system.

There is a personal drive amongst registered nurses to ensure that the healthcare systems are reformed to suit the common man, most nurses not only get attached to their patients, but are themselves normal human beings whose families are also affected by these difficulties ion the healthcare system. Therefore in addition to being motivated for the sake of their patients, they also have self motivation to improve the healthcare system, these actions can therefore be seen as a means of “translating social values into action” (Zerwekh and Claborn, 1997, p. 59).iv)                A profession has a code of ethicsA code of ethics is necessary for any profession to ensure proper and quality practice, with the latter being very important t in nursing, a code of ethics is very important, and in this sense therefore the American Nurses Association first published and adopted a Nursing Code of Ethics in the 1950’s, a version which has had quite a number of revisions since then. There was however need to take nurses all over the world into account and with the establishment of the ICN, a code of ethics that borrows from all its member countries but applies to all nurses was established and last revised in 2006. These codes not only provide a basis and guidelines upon which a nurse provides care, but also a framework for making the right kinds of decisions.v)                  A professional has a commitment to life-long workAccording to Pavalko, it is important for a professional to treasure whatever profession they are in, look at it as more than just a job, and thus not just use their profession as a stepping stone to greener pastures. This then begs the question, what really motivates people to join the nursing profession? Is it the motivation to buy a new fridge, a car, send their children to school, or is the individual self motivated, as this determines how they treat their professions.

Most nurses I know engage in acts that require more than just earthly motivation and therefore view themselves as part of a calling, as only this can justify the level of commitment most have. I however leave this judgment to you, do most nurses have a lifelong commitment to their profession? I definitely think                Members control their profession.With the establishment of a nursing profession there was need for control to be established, but who can be said to be qualified to control a professional? Definitely a fellow professional and it is along this line of thinking that it is necessary for the controlling body to be composed of other professionals. The various nurses associations are thus established to ensure all nurses adhere to the various outlined codes of ethics, and maintain quality standards of care.

In this light therefore nursing is definitely autonomous, as licensing and registration of the nurses is done by their own associations and councils.vii)              A profession has a theoretical framework on which professional practice is based.Although nursing does borrow a lot of information from other sciences and humanities, developments have emerged that have seen the basing of nursing care towards various theories and concepts that have been developed. Such theories include Orem’s self care model, or Gordon’s functional health patterns, these theories are currently shaping nursing care, and with the increased rate of specialization taking place in the nursing profession, one can only imagine that the trend is definitely going to continue.viii)            Members of a profession have a common identity and distinctive subculture.Perhaps one can say that in this respect nursing does not satisfy Pavalko’s definition of a profession, as different nurses practice within different cultures, as it is essential to note that each nurse is a member of a culture, and are therefore predisposed to behave in a certain way, uniformity of culture thus can not apply.

Do accountants, engineers, or even architects have a particular culture, or common identity other than the profession itself?Roles Of a BSN Nursei)                    A Care Giver: A nurse is expected to provide care for the sick, regardless of the situation, with the main aim being to ensure recovery to good health, or peaceful death, a BSN nurse is therefore no different with the improvement of quality of care given being the most important aspect of his or her practice.ii)                  Teacher: A BSN nurse is very important in the practice of health promotion through health education, as she functions as a health educator, and thus a teacher. He/she also participates in the training of other nurses.iii)                Advocate: The BSN nurse is not only charged with the responsibility of advocating for better terms of service for colleagues, but also advocating for better healthcare services for their patients.iv)                Manager: The BSN nurse in most cases is a trained manager, as they study a number of management units, and are therefore qualified to manage the hospitals they are posted to, he or she is expected to carry out the functions of a manager such as planning, organizing, controlling, directing, staffing and budgeting.

v)                  Colleague expert: The BSN nurse is supposed to utilize his or her training to ensure improvement in the quality of care, through providing a leading example for fellow colleagues as the most highly trained non specialized nurse. She therefore is a source of on the job learning and rationale for doing things.References1.     Licardo, L (1991).  New hope for an old soap–General Hospital.  Mesa Watch:  A Publication of Nurses in America,2, 6.2.

     Pavalko, R. (1971).  Sociology of occupations and professions.  Itasca, IL. Peakock Publishers,3.     Sullivan, E. J.

and Decker, P. J.  (1997).  Effective leadership and management in nursing.  Menlo Park, CA.  Addison Wesley Longman.

4.     Zerwekh, J. and Claborn, J. C.  (1997).  Nursing today:  Transition and trends, 2nd ed.  Philadelphia:  W.

B. Saunders. 


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